Germany elected to UN Human Rights Council again

Germany will once again be serving on the United Nations Human Rights Council. On 12 November, the UN General Assembly elected Germany for the period of 2013 to 2015. Foreign Minister Westerwelle praised the election as a “show of confidence in our country and a tribute to our consistent stand on human rights around the world”.

Germany garnered 127 votes, thereby winning one of the three available seats in the Western European and Other States Group. The group’s other two seats went to Ireland and the US.

The 47 total seats on the Human Rights Council are allocated strictly by region: Africa and Asia have 13 seats each, Latin America eight seats, the Western European and Other States Group seven and Eastern Europe six. Terms on the Council run for three years, and one-third of the seats come up for election each year.

A key priority for German foreign policy

Protecting human rights is a key priority for German foreign policy. The Human Rights Council is the United Nations’ main organ for addressing these concerns. Germany has actively supported the work of the Human Rights Council from the outset, and from 2006 to 2009 served on the Council as one of first members. Foreign Minister Westerwelle issued the following statement on the occasion of Germany’s most recent election to the Council: “We regard the Human Rights Council as the leading international institution concerned with human rights protection and the further development of human rights standards.” He also expressed his gratitude for the worldwide support which Germany’s candidacy had received.

Alongside Germany, the US and Ireland, 15 other members were elected for the period of 2013 to 2015. These countries, listed by regional group, are:

  • Africa: Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sierra Leone
  • Asia: United Arab Emirates, Kazakhstan, Japan, South Korea, Pakistan
  • Eastern Europe: Estonia, Montenegro
  • Latin America: Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela

The Human Rights Council has existed since 2006, when it was founded to replace the Human Rights Commission. Its establishment arose from then UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s reform recommendations to strengthen the United Nations’ protection of human rights. The Human Rights Council has the same status as the UN General Assembly committees and reports directly to the General Assembly.

Last updated 12.11.2012

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